At least 11 Algerian soldiers were killed after they were attacked by Islamist militant gunmen west of the capital Algiers, a security source said on Saturday. The source did not give further details about the attack which took place on Thursday night in the Ain Defla area. Algeria has found stability after a 1990s war with armed Islamist groups. But al Qaeda-allied fighters and a splinter armed group loyal to Islamic State are still active in pockets of the country, mostly in remote mountain areas.
Due to the turmoil of radical Islamic militant activity in neighboring Libya, the news is not as alarming as it might otherwise have been. After the Arab Spring, militant activity in Northern Africa by radical Al Qaeda inspired or aligned groups have been on the increase. After the recent terror attacks in Tunisia and the anarchy in Libya, we can only hope Algeria doesn’t become a new haven for terrorist activity. I would heed anyone thinking about a visit to Northern Africa caution unless the travel is truly required.
It is truly a shame because the area has so significant amounts of history and beauty, especially along the coastal areas. Hopefully, the Algerian government is able to quickly and swiftly quash these activities and stabilize their country. The last thing we want to see are ancient artifacts and relics being systematically destroyed in the same fashion as what ISIS is currently performing in Iraq. However, I will remain pessimistic unless similar actions are taken in nearby Libya, Tunisia, and Egypt to wipe out their hotbeds of militant activity.